East of India was started February 1991 by John Ayris and Anne Spratling. Whilst travelling throughout Asia we met a talented craftsman in Bali who had made a beautiful wooden pig, among other amazing products. We bought the pig and packed it into our rucksack. Three months later back in the UK we received so many admiring comments regarding our pig we decided to start our own business, introducing these beautiful handmade crafts to a wider audience.
We showed a selection of carved wooden products to a few local shops, carried out some research into importing and selling hand crafted goods and, following a disappointing reaction from several banks, secured a loan from the Prince’s Trust. Together with business and legal advice, The Trust appointed a mentor who provided invaluable support and gave a great boost to our confidence.
We returned to Bali and re-engaged with our craftsman and East of India was born.